A top criminal defense attorney tells HollywoodLife.com that Katherine could be protected from speaking about her husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev! Two constitutional rights could keep her from revealing what she knows.
The FBI wants to know if Katherine Russell was aware of her late husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev‘s plans to plant bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15, but she’s refusing to speak with authorities. Michael Cornacchia, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in NYC, told HollywoodLife.com that Katherine can avoid speaking to the FBI forever.
Katherine Russell Can Avoid Talking With FBI
Michael tells us Katherine can invoke the Fifth Amendment, as well as spousal privilege. Both of these rights are granted to American citizens, and they protect Katherine from speaking about Tamerlan and her potential involvement.
The Fifth Amendment states:’An amendment to the US Constitution stating that no person may be compelled to testify against himself. And that no person may be tried for a second time on a charge for which he has already been acquitted.’
The spousal privilege’s definition says: ‘Right given to a husband and wife to refuse to testify in a trial as to confidential statements made to each other within and during the framework of their spousal relationship.’
Michael says Katherine can avoid speaking to police if she asks to invoke the Fifth Amendment. If she does decide to speak with police, she can still avoid talking about conversations she had with Tamerlan by way of the spousal privilege.
“We all have the right to remain silent,” Michael tells us. “If they ask her about conversations, she can say, ‘I’m invoking the spousal privilege.'”
Michael also says Katherine could decide to speak with the FBI if they granted her immunity. This means that any statements she makes about her husband, and anything she may knows, can’t be used against her in court.
“Once you get immunity, you cannot assert the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” Michael explains. “If after receiving immunity, you persist in refusing to answer questions, you would be subject to contempt.”
And if Katherine is charged with contempt, she could go to jail.
“[If I was representing her], I would sit her down and ask her to be truthful to me,” Michael says. “If she doesn’t have criminal exposure [prior knowledge of what was going on] I would set it up so that she would be protected for what she said with immunity. The fact that she was living with a person that is accused of being a terrorist bomber would be enough for her to not speak, until she had been explained her rights by an attorney and had full understanding of what was going on.”
Tamerlan Abused His Wife Emotional & Physically
Tamerlan was reportedly verbally and physically abusive to Katherine. The Boston bombing suspect allegedly used to throw objects at her, including pieces of furniture. This led her to feeling trapped in their relationship.
— Chloe Melas